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This being the Keynote Address delivered by Comrade Goosie Tanoh during the First National Delegates Congress of “Organising for Ghana” (OfG) – a Platform for NDC progressive activists who want fundamental change in the Party to achieve wider fundamental change in Ghana.
WE HAVE A CHOICE
An Open Letter to the National Democratic Congress (NDC)
We are at a time and moment in our country’s history that requires profound and far reaching new thinking and new ways of doing things.
It also requires a new breed of disciplined leadership unswervingly committed to serve Ghana and Ghanaians, in particular, our youth, women, our working and middle classes, our farmers whose living standards and security of livelihood are in perpetual free fall.
It is a time when we must pull ourselves up to become visionary, focused and determined to execute a true agenda of social justice, and economic and social transformation.
This must begin now if we are not to perish at the hands of the brutalizing poverty we see all around us.
We must find the will and purpose to rid ourselves of the dysfunctional governments that parade before us every four years brimming with self-importance and yet are, as demonstrated by the current state of affairs, tragically and pathetically clueless in seeking solutions to the many and varied problems that confront us as a community.
We are tired of economic policies that are at best experimental and at worst a certain recipe for continued hardship, pain and the dispossession of the many by the few. Policies that no matter how well intentioned continue to make our national destiny subservient to an international economic system that mercilessly extracts our wealth and consigns our national life to one of perpetual crisis.
Hope and confidence are material forces that contribute immeasurably to the drive for economic prosperity and social advancement. Hope nourishes our zest for life and reinforces our fortitude to struggle and overcome.
I fear that we are fast losing this hope, this confidence in ourselves as a Ghanaian people able to meet any challenge no matter how hard and overcome.
The propelling sense of national optimism so necessary for forging a better present and constructing a promising and formidable future is also day by day diminished as dark clouds of despair and hopelessness immobilizes thought and purposeful action for change and the construction of a better Ghana.
Our nation has in the last several years been held hostage to the triumph of injustice over right, the naked and unjust appropriation of our public wealth to service family and friends and a few chosen apostles of greed whose sole virtue is their expertise in the dissipation of the public purse for private gain. The consequence has been a profound loss of confidence in our governance institutions and the functionaries that man them. The hope of the 1992 constitution has been replaced by a deep scepticism and lack of faith.
We as a Party have a historic duty to rise up and resist these tendencies that have brought us to this place of despair that not only threaten to impoverish us all but leave in their wake a poisonous mediocrity where merit, dedicated principled service and ability are sacrificed at the altar of sycophancy, cronyism and debilitating theft.
If we are to wake up to this call of duty then we ourselves, indeed, the entirety of our membership must imbibe and cultivate, at this time and in this moment, the virtues of honesty, sacrifice, volunteerism and determination to build a mass based political organization that has the vision and equipment to lead Ghana out of the mire that threatens to engulf us towards a future in which Ghana’s vast economic potential and the wellbeing of its long suffering citizens are fully realized.
We believe that NDC can regain its preeminent standing as a mass based political organization through sustained and disciplined effort. We must sweat a little so that our exertions can and must retrieve our national political life from the clutches of those who are intent on weakening our nations dedication to the principles of social justice, accountability and popular democracy. And who over the years have instituted by design a culture of elitism, impunity and hostility to the grassroots, the common man and the founding principles of our party.
The politics of inclusion must be nurtured, cherished and deepened.
Let us be clear that the political elite (on both sides of the aisle), only see the state as a vehicle to serve and advance the interests of an acquisitive few by fair or foul means. They and the few who think like them (and unquestionably serve them for a few talents of silver) have certainly no intention or commitment to implementing an agenda of far reaching social and economic reforms and a program of positive transformation in the lives of the broad majority of Ghanaians.
Theirs is a politics of exclusion of the many to advance the cause of the few.
It is enough.
Organization, Education and Total Mobilization of the Grassroots to achieve real democracy, national self-reliance, social justice and fairness in our country is our unyielding cause.
We must through our determined effort unlock the vast energy, sense of justice and organizational ability of our youth, our women and all of us who thirst for a vibrant and prosperous Ghana. Our determination to engage in a sustained struggle to construct a fairer more equitable society built on the principles of social justice, accountability and self-reliance must not waver in the coming days, months and years as we launch the renewal and revival of our party on this difficult but fulfilling journey.
This is our cause.
All of us who yearn for true and lasting change must understand that achieving better standards of living for all Ghanaians, personal and communal security free from harm and crime, equal access and treatment under the laws – all these benefits of a just and fair society will not come without struggle or sacrifice.
It is time to move beyond pre-occupation with our many individual grievances as armchair observers, critics and complainants and rather engage in purposeful positive action in the quest to find and implement sustainable solutions to the many problems that we face as a nation.
If we want a transparent, open and functioning democracy (free from Pre-Set agendas and the “Kululu” that goes with it) in our nation then we must be prepared to pursue through all peaceful means the organized sustained democratic action of the grassroots in an uncompromising quest for social justice and equal access to the wealth of our nation.
The mission is Now.
In the next few days, weeks and months ahead we will, through scientific analysis and practical systematic organization, concentrate our efforts in joining others who share our views to rebuild NDC to become once again the powerful political force it once was. We do so in the belief that the NDC can and will be a vehicle for the kind of change and transformation that many of us who were at its birth, have yearned for all these years.
We must be dispassionate in our analysis, focused and determined in our mobilization drive, and at all times remembering the creed that – Ghana comes before any party – as we ponder and decide on these far reaching and weighty matters.
We have no choice as a true social democratic party but to build a sophisticated and politically conscious grassroots movement fully able to provide the impetus for community mobilization for local and national development. In doing so, we must remain steadfast in establishing within the membership of the party a commitment to a strong democratic and transparent culture. We must also equip the ranks of our Party with the highest calibre of cadres who can man the state apparatus in all its aspects and who will offer a new spirit of honest, efficient and dedicated service in the conception and implementation of the urgent development agenda facing our nation.
Such cadre, inspired by an awakened mass movement, will have as their sole motivation the wellbeing and development of Ghana and not as we have sadly come to expect the wellbeing of their pocket and that of their families and friends.
Undying sacrificial service to Ghana – that will be the sacred pledge of a renewed NDC and the theme of its sustained revival.
We can of course choose the path of “servitude in tranquillity” and remain subservient to the powerful forces of moneyed politics and accommodate, by our silence and inaction, injustice, impunity and the impoverishment that all this comes with.
We can in our silence and inaction hope against hope that somehow the chop chop agenda will give way to a new wave of transparency and accountability.
Yes, as members of our once great party we have a choice to be naive and forever be relegated to the margins of political and economic power or we can construct a path of struggle and ultimate triumph for the cause and principles we cherish.
Again, we have a choice to participate in and remain servile to a political culture increasingly poisoned by the paralyzing gridlock of partisanship as we witness the elite of the dominant political party’s present themselves as credible and legitimate alternatives to each other only to be voted into power for “business to continue as usual” or we can lift our sights beyond the confines of this useless and unproductive outlook.
We have a choice.
And indeed, our choice must be to follow the path of grassroots empowerment fully aware that those with vested interests in the unjust system we have today will fight tooth and nail to protect and maintain their privileges and the unwholesome grip they hold over our national resources.
We have a choice to remain disenfranchised, impoverished, unorganized and meek as individual common men and women too weighed down by the sheer burden of survival to fight for what is right and just or we can take the first step on a journey of hope and national fulfilment not without danger or toil.
We have a choice.
We are joined.
I remain yours faithfully
Augustus Obuadum Tanoh